CHC’s drama ministry recently celebrated its volunteers through an award-studded appreciation lunch.
Contributed By Annabelle Low
Ukeleles, Afro wigs, polka dots. These ran amuck at Roland Restaurant in Marine Parade Central where the Drama Ministry of City Harvest Church held an appreciation party for its ministry volunteers on May 22.
Traditionally, the drama ministry gathers its members for a time of appreciation at least once a year. However, this year is the first time an awards ceremony has been incorporated into the program.
“The ministry volunteers have worked very hard the past year and we wanted to thank them and recognize their efforts,” said directors Sandy Yeo and Jaslynn Khoo.
Hosted by Bernard Loh, a “veteran” member of the ministry, the lunch began with a round of wacky games. Lex Chan, 19, a national serviceman, won two dubious contests: in the first, he shouted “DM!” and held the second syllable (like “yum seng”) for an astonishing 22.9s. In the second, he wowed the crowd with a series of symphonic burps he produced after downing a can of Diet Coke.
Loh led the drama ministry leaders in a dance performance under a segment called Boogie Time. In seconds, every ministry member was on his or her feet “getting down.” After the dancing and raucous laughter had settled down, it was time for the DM Goes Retro Awards.
The first award was entitled the “Dana Reeve Award” (named for the wife of the actor Christopher Reeve, who was paralyzed in a horse-riding accident; she cared for her husband through his toughest years). This award was presented to those who were always on hand to help out in the drama ministry. Recipients of this award were Timothy Wan, Lee Shao Kuan, Edward Fan, and Resendos “Ros” Yew, and also to Xenia Teo and Cheah Xiao Wei, who are from the costume ministry which is a sub-department under the drama ministry.
The “Godfather Crew Award” was presented to members of the drama ministry backstage crew for being the most dependable people around. Recipients included Walter Lim, Lim Chin Hock, Seth Chua, Joy Ong, Kelvin Tan, Grace Ho, Lai Zhi Fang, Maggie Hoe, Aaron Ho and Jason Pang. The “Al Pacino Award” was given to the three most improved actors who have shown great dedication to their craft, namely, George Kuruvilla, Anne Ng and Shawn Wong, who played General Brutus from this year’s Easter play, The Centurion.
The “Robert De Niro Award” was given to the best newcomers to drama ministry who displayed a great attitude and flair for acting. Newbies Brian Neo and Fiona Lim were the deserving recipients. The “Steven Spielberg Award” was awarded to the stage manager Eliz Wong; and the “Christopher Nolan Award” for best scriptwriter went to Tan Chin Ling.
The “Lethal Weapon Award” went to three members whose unlikely friendship and chemistry on stage are unmatched: Shelia Ther, Jace Lee and Adrian Chueng. The “Marlon Brando Award” was awarded to the Centurion himself, Ed Ong, as an acknowledgement of his dedication and total immersion into his character. “We act not for the applause of men, but for the applause of angels,” said Ong as he accepted his award. Finally, the “Ben Kingsley Award,” the equivalent of a lifetime achievement award, was given to the longest serving actor in a single role—Tan Tian-An, 41, an IT trainer by profession, familiar to City Harvesters as the man who has played Jesus for more than 20 years.
Tan said, “These are times when we renew bonds even though the show is over. It’s how the ministry will grow stronger and volunteers remember we are here.” Special thanks went to Chris Lee, who trained the actors, Lim Wee Lee and Bernard Loh. Lucas Chia and Grace Wong were crowned King and Queen of DM Goes Retro for the outstanding outfits they were decked in.
DM also bade farewell to veteran member and award recipient Ther, who will be going to Surabaya for two years to teach. Ther, known affectionately as “Mother” to all drama ministry members, said: “I’ve been in drama ministry since my first role as a grandmother at the age of 16. DM is not a ministry, it’s more like a family. I’ll miss my family, but I’ll be back.”
Germaine Tan, 16, a DM “newbie,” expressed her love for the ministry. “Drama ministry has really changed my life and given me many opportunities to grow in the presence of wonderful people.”
More Than An Act
The ministry members speak:
“Being in drama is a molding experience—one must be willing to be broken and start at the bottom. I have grown closer in my personal walk with God. The drama ministry is where we serve together shoulder-to-shoulder. It’s family.”
~ GEORGE KURUVILLA
“The drama ministry has helped me to feel integrated and connected to the church. Through the numerous productions I’ve been a part of, I saw firsthand how drama is a mighty tool that touches the hearts of the lost. As a member of DM, I’m blessed that I can be a blessing.” ~ LUCAS CHIA
“Through serving God in the drama ministry, it has opened a world of creative possibilities for me and helped me to understand the complexities of human relations through the characters, and to experience the joys of seeing a production come to fruition.” ~ ESTHER TEO
“Never underestimate the power of drama, be it on stage, in film or TV, for it has the ability to communicate messages in a powerful yet subtle way. It’s always been my passion to act and perform on stage, and being able to do that while serving His kingdom purpose couldn’t be a better combo.” ~ LINGUAL TAN
“Being in the drama ministry uplifts my desire to serve the Lord. It is my dream to be an actor and I am blessed and honored to be an actor in the house of God. With our God-given talents, we can make an impact and difference to all. Serving in drama ministry is not all about recognition; it’s all about the salvation of those who are lost, for the glory of God.” ~ ROMMEL AVILES